Plans for the first contact between North Korea and the United States after President Donald Trump took office were canceled after the U.S. State Department denied a visa for the top envoy from Pyongyang, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday.

The talks, between senior North Korean foreign ministry envoy Choe Son Hui and former U.S. officials, were scheduled to take place on March 1 and 2 in New York but were called off after Choe was denied a visa, the Journal said.

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Malaysian police wish to question North Korean embassy staff

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It was not clear what led the State Department to deny the visa but North Korea’s test-firing of a ballistic missile on Feb. 12 and the murder of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s half brother in Malaysia may have played a role, the report said.

South Korean and U.S. officials have said they believe North Korean agents assassinated Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half brother of Kim Jong-un, on Feb. 13.

A U.S. State Department official denied so-called track two discussions had been scheduled.

READ MORE: North Korea says nuclear-capable ballistic missile test was a success

“The U.S government had no plans to engage in track 2 talks in New York,” the official said, declining comment on individual visa cases.

A South Korean foreign ministry official declined to comment on the report of the canceled meeting in New York, saying the reported plan did not involve the U.S. or South Korean government.

The meeting in New York would have been the first time a senior North Korean envoy would visit the United States since 2011 and the first contact between U.S. and North Korean representatives since Trump took office.

In this photo taken Feb. 17, 2017, construction material is seen along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House in Washington, as work continues with the dismantling of the presidential inauguration reviewing stand.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Choe, director general for North American affairs at the North’s foreign ministry, has previously met former U.s. officials and academics, the last time in November in Geneva for informal discussions.

Trump said in a Reuters interview on Thursday that he was concerned about North Korea’s ballistic missile tests and “it’s a very dangerous situation”. Trump did not ruling out meeting Kim at some point in the future under certain circumstances but suggested it might be too late.

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One Saskatchewan Huskies basketball team completed a sweep of its Canada West quarterfinal series on Friday while the other will have to play a third and deciding game.

After beating the Fraser Valley Cascades handily in the series opener the Huskies women faltered in Game 2, falling 74-62. The Dogs mustered just 24 first-half points a night after scoring 25 in the opening quarter alone.

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    Second-year guard Sabine Dukate led the Huskies with 21 points in a losing effort. Four UFV starters hit double digits on the scoresheet with Kayli Sartori’s 19 leading the way.

    The teams will meet again Saturday at 2 p.m. CT with the winner advancing to the Canada West Final Four.

    READ MORE: Saskatchewan Huskies basketball teams sweep playoff doubleheader

    The Huskies men will play in the Final Four after beating the Winnipeg Wesmen 88-77 one night after earning a nail-biting one-point victory.

    The Dogs raced out to a 31-8 lead after one quarter thanks to an impressive display of long-range shooting.

    Saskatchewan made seven of nine three-point attempts in the quarter and looked to be cruising to victory but the Wesmen never gave up, battling all the way back to within one point in the fourth quarter before the Huskies pulled away late.

    Fourth-year forward Shane Osayande recorded his second straight double-double with 21 points and 19 rebounds, both game highs, while fourth-year point guard Alex Unruh poured in 20 points.

    Saskatchewan will now travel to Calgary next week for the Final Four.

WASHINGTON – U.S. immigration authorities are barring entry to a 21-year-old Syrian cinematographer who worked on a harrowing film about his nation’s civil war, The White Helmets, that has been nominated for an Academy Award.

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According to internal Trump administration correspondence seen by The Associated Press, the Department of Homeland Security has decided at the last minute to block Khaled Khateeb from travelling to Los Angeles for the Oscars.

READ MORE: Bashar al-Assad: Donald Trump’s travel ban is ‘not against the Syrian people’

Khateeb was scheduled to arrive Saturday in Los Angeles on a Turkish Airlines flight departing from Istanbul. But his plans have been upended after U.S. officials reported finding “derogatory information” regarding Khateeb.

Derogatory information is a broad category that can include anything from terror connections to passport irregularities. Asked for comment, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, Gillian Christensen, said, “A valid travel document is required for travel to the United States.”

WATCH: Leader of White Helmets says situation in Aleppo is ‘terrible’

“The White Helmets,” a 40-minute Netflix documentary, has been nominated for Best Documentary Short. If the film wins the Oscar, the award would go to director Orlando von Einsiedel and producer Joanna Natasegara. Khateeb is one of three people credited for cinematography; Franklin Dow is the film’s director of photography.

The film focuses on the rescue workers who risk their lives to save Syrians affected by civil war. Many of the group’s members have been killed by Syrian President Bashar Assad‘s air forces. The group also was nominated for last year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“The White Helmets” includes emblematic scenes of the deadly 6-year-old conflict: people digging through destroyed homes looking for survivors, at constant risk of “double tap” attacks that target first responders after they’ve arrived at the scene of a strike.

WATCH: Syrian ‘White Helmet’ cries after rescuing baby from rubble

Khateeb had been issued a visa to attend the ceremony with Hollywood’s biggest stars. But Turkish authorities detained him this week, according to the internal U.S. government correspondence, and he suddenly needed a passport waiver from the United States to enter the country.

The correspondence indicated he would not receive such a waiver. There was no explanation in the correspondence for why Turkey detained Khateeb.

Some homeowners in southeast Calgary were given quite the scare Friday night when a giant piece of ice came crashing through their roof.

Theresa Couch and her husband were watching TV in the living room of their home in the 100-block of Doverthorn Bay S.E. when they heard what they thought was an explosion.

“All of a sudden we heard this big bang and all this stuff falling,” Couch, who has lived in the house for 42 years, explained. “We thought something major fell out of the cupboard or something.”

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The pair went into the kitchen but they found nothing out of the ordinary. Then they walked into the hallway to find a hole in their ceiling.

“We were pretty shook up, I’ll tell you that. I said to him, ‘Something must have fell from the sky. How could that happen?’”

The Calgary Fire Department was called to the home at around 7 p.m.

The initial call came in as an explosion, said Paul LeBlanc with the fire department.

“When I called (911) I said it was an explosion because that’s what it sounded like. It was that loud,” Couch said.

“We found a hole in the rear of the house that had gone through the roof, through the ceiling and into the basement,” LeBlanc explained.

Fire crews went inside the house and found a big chunk of ice in the basement.

“It was about a foot in diameter,” LeBlanc said. “With the assessment that we could do when our crews arrived here, and putting all of the pieces together, the only explanation that we have at this time is that it would be a piece of ice from a passing plane.

“This is the first time in my 36 years of working for the Calgary Fire Department that I’ve ever heard of this happening.

“It has happened in other parts of the world. I do believe this is the first time in Calgary.”

Luckily no one was injured by the falling piece of ice. LeBlanc said the homeowners were quite shaken.

“Other than being very scared at the time, the occupants are doing just fine.”

The fire department confirmed with airport officials that the house fell under a flight path on Friday night, LeBlanc said.

The fire department’s investigation has concluded.

The Transportation Safety Board is also investigating and said this is the second time in nine years that something like this has happened. The last time it happened was also in Calgary.

WATCH RAW VIDEO BELOW: Theresa Couch was sitting in her living room watching TV with her husband when she heard a loud bang. It turns out, a chunk of ice fell off a plane and crashed through the roof of her home, into the basement. She explains the ordeal. 

An emboldened Mexico hardened its opposition to President Donald Trump on Friday by saying it would retaliate if the United States imposed a border tax and that it can afford to lose financial aid that might be pulled to pay for a border wall.

Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said Mexico could respond to any tax the United States were to unilaterally impose on imports from its southern neighbor to finance the wall with levies on select goods, aimed at U.S. regions most dependent on exports south of the border.

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“Without a doubt, we have that possibility, and what we cannot do is remain with our arms crossed,” Videgaray said in a radio interview. “The Mexican government would have to respond.”

The statements by Videgaray and Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, who minimized the potential impact of the rumored loss of U.S. security aid, toughened the defiant tone from Mexico since President Enrique Pena Nieto last month canceled a trip to meet Trump over the wall dispute.

Mexicans are angry at Trump’s calls for U.S. firms not to invest south of the border, insults to immigrants and threats to make Mexico finance the border wall. The peso currency has weakened on concerns he will hurt Latin America’s No. 2 economy.

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READ MORE: Trump’s new immigration plan could send all illegals to Mexico, regardless of nationality

Pena Nieto had faced criticism he was too accommodating with Trump but got a much needed ratings boost after cancelling the summit. A plan to deport third-country nationals to Mexico fueled outrage this week.

Mexican officials were publicly blunt with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security John Kelly over Trump’s immigration and trade proposals in a visit to Mexico on Thursday.

Osorio Chong told local radio that Mexican officials’ rejection of Trump’s bid to send non-Mexican illegal migrants from the United States to Mexico was “very clear.”

In this Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2017 file photo, a truck drives near the Mexico-US border fence, on the Mexican side, separating the towns of Anapra, Mexico and Sunland Park, New Mexico.

AP Photo/Christian Torres, File

“They asked us if (non-Mexican illegal immigrants) could be here while they are going through the legal process there. We said that there was…absolutely no way.”

Videgaray said the trade strategy would replicate a 2009 campaign of retaliatory tariffs that helped Mexico win a dispute with the United States. On Wednesday, the minister mentioned Iowa, Texas and Wisconsin as states that could be targeted in a conversation with lawmakers leaked to two newspapers.

“This is not our preference,” he said. “Mexico believes in free trade.”

No handouts please

A U.S. executive order on Jan. 25 that mandated the construction of a border wall also require government agencies to report the financial assistance they gave Mexico in the past five years, leading to speculation Trump wants to redirect the aid to pay for its construction.

Osorio Chong said on Friday that Mexico had no need for such financial aid from the United States, signaling that it would not come close to paying for the estimated $21.6 billion cost of the wall.

Like in other middle-income emerging economies, many in Mexico consider it humiliating to take aid from wealthy countries.

READ MORE: Donald Trump sends top aides to Mexico on fence-mending mission

A large part of U.S. aid to Mexico comes through the Plan Merida program, under which the U.S. Congress allocated $2.6 billion to security assistance between 2008 and 2016.

Of that, $1.6 billion had been disbursed by November 2016, according to the U.S. Congressional Research Service.

“When they realize what’s left of Merida, they will understand that it’s not even that significant,” Osorio Chong told local radio.

“We don’t object to them moving these resources… Mexico now has its own capabilities,” he said.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency said on Friday it will accept proposals next month for the design of Trump’s wall, a first step in picking vendors.

Videgaray said a meeting of Tillerson, Kelly and Pena Nieto in Mexico City was a short courtesy visit.

He said in a more substantial meeting of the ministers, Kelly told him that deportations of undocumented immigrants from the United States would not be militarized, after Trump characterized the process as a “military operation.”

Former U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton delivered a taped message to members of the Democratic Party, posted on the party’s official Facebook page on Friday (February 24).

“Thank you all for coming together to represent our party at its best: united, energized and ready to wage and win the battles ahead,” said Clinton in the message.

“Being your candidate was the honor of a lifetime and I was inspired to see women and men from all walks of life and every corner of our country coming together on behalf of our shared values. And while we didn’t get the outcome we worked so hard for, I’ll always be proud of the campaign we ran, a campaign that was better and stronger thanks to each of you.”

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Clinton commented in the video on the protests that have taken place across the U.S. since the election win and inauguration of Donald Trump.

“Everywhere people are marching, protesting, tweeting, speaking out and working for an America that’s hopeful, inclusive, and big hearted. From the women’s march to airports where communities are welcoming immigrants refugees and people of every faith to town hall meetings where people are speaking up for healthcare, the environment, good jobs, and all the other issues that deserve our passionate support,” Clinton said.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton issues rallying cry to women: ‘The Future is Female’

“Among those millions making their voices heard are future mayors, city and state officials, governors, members of Congress, even future presidents.

“We as Democrats must move forward with courage, confidence, and optimism and stay focused on the elections we must win this year and next. Let resistance plus persistence equal progress for our party and our country.”

Clinton has kept a relatively low profile since losing the election on November 08, despite winning the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes.

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Arkansas’ attorney general has asked for execution dates to be set for eight death row inmates, but state officials said they’re still lacking one of the three lethal injection drugs needed to put the men to death.

Attorney General Leslie Rutledge on Friday asked Gov. Asa Hutchinson to set dates for the eight men now that the U.S. Supreme Court rejected their appeals.

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The U.S. high court on Tuesday said it wouldn’t review a state Supreme Court decision upholding Arkansas’ lethal injection law. Rutledge’s request came hours after the state high court lifted its stay on that ruling.

Prison officials said they haven’t replaced a lethal injection drug that expired in January. Arkansas hasn’t executed an inmate since 2005.

READ MORE: Alabama inmate heaved, coughed during lethal injection execution that took nearly 30 minutes

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Some people love surprises.  Other people would rather walk across a desert carrying a camel than live the unexpected.

London Knights’ goalie Tyler Johnson got large surprise on Friday night and ran with it, making 36 saves and leading the Knights to a 4-1 victory over the Windsor Spitfires at Budweiser Gardens.

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Johnson expected to be the back-up goaltender in Tyler Parsons’ return to the London Knights, only that didn’t happen.  Parsons’ return to the net was derailed by the flu.  He was about to play in his first game in almost three weeks after rehabbing an upper body injury and was so close to stepping into the crease that his name was announced as London’s starting goaltender.  The crowd cheered, but Parsons did not appear and behind the scenes Johnson was being informed that he would start the game.

Johnson shut out the Windsor shooters for 55 minutes and five seconds on the way to his 11th win of the year.

The first period was tight as both teams came out determined to limit what the other side was doing.  Fifteen minutes into the game and through a power play per side, London was outshooting Windsor 3-2.

A big defensive play led to a bigger offensive finish to open the scoring in the second period.  As a London penalty was ending, Cliff Pu blocked a shot just inside the Knights’ blue line and then found the puck and fed it ahead to Mitchell Stephens as he jumped out of the box.  Evan Bouchard raced up ice to create a two-on-one, took a pass from Stephens and then tucked a return feed right in front of the net, leaving Stephens a tap-in for his 20th goal of the season to make it 1-0 London.

A blocked shot led to London’s second goal as well.  Early in the third period, Sam Miletic got his leg on a wrister by Jalen Chatfield and then outraced Chatfield as he fell.  Miletic got in on goal and was poke-checked by Michael DiPietro, however, captain J.J. Piccinich pounced on the loose puck and scored to make it 2-0.

London went ahead 3-0 as Janne Kuokkanen outraced Windsor defenceman, Sean Day to a puck in centre and then fought off all 230 pounds of Day to get his 22nd goal and give the Knights a 3-0 advantage with 5:23 left in the game.

Windsor got that back and broke Johnson’s shutout just 28 seconds later as Hayden McCool deflected a pass past Johnson to cut London’s lead to 3-1.

Spitfires’ coach Rocky Thompson elected to pull the goalie with a little over two minutes remaining and just as DiPietro stepped onto the bench, Miletic grabbed a puck on the right side of the Knights’ zone, skated to centre and wired one high, into the empty net.

The Guelph Storm did London, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie and Owen Sound a favor on Friday night.  They beat the first-place Erie Otters 4-2.  That leaves London four points back of the Otters.  Both teams have 11 games left and will meet head-to-head twice, once in London and once in Erie.

The Knights head for Owen Sound on Saturday to finish their season series against the Attack.  The pregame show gets going at 7:00 p.m. from the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre on AM 980 and at player.am980长沙夜网

The challenge begins for real Saturday for the Toronto Wolfpack.

The trail-blazing transatlantic rugby league club plays its first competitive match, taking on Siddal in the third round of the knockout Ladbrokes Challenge Cup.

Toronto opens league play on March 4 at the London Skolars in the Kingstone Press League 1, the third tier of English rugby.

A successful amateur side in West Yorkshire, Siddal has sent players to the pro ranks and become a home for former pros. It is a well-established club with more than 350 players spread over 16 teams from youth to masters.

WATCH: Canada Rugby Sevens initial ticket release sells out

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Siddal topped the Premier Division of England’s National Conference League last season with an 18-4-0 record and defeated League 1’s Newcastle Thunder 40-4 before falling 48-20 to the Rochelle Hornets in Cup play.

“They’re probably one of the most decorated amateur clubs,” said Wolfpack coach Paul Rowley. “They would arguably be better than some of the teams that we’ll play against this year in the professional league.”

The Wolfpack, who have been training in Yorkshire near Siddal’s Halifax base since November, have already drawn interest in England. Saturday’s game will be streamed live on BBC Sport.

“I’m rather sure that (Siddal) sense an opportunity to take a scalp whilst the world is watching … because Toronto Wolfpack bring with it a lot of interested people,” said Rowley. “They’re a very very good team, they’re a very tough opponent.”

WATCH: Team Canada takes on USA in Americas Rugby Championship

The third round sees Toronto and the other 15 Kingstone Press League 1 clubs joining the eight second-round winners.

Siddal, which made the fourth round of last year’s competition, beat the Milford Marlins 16-4 and Pilkinton Recs 34-10 to earn the date with Toronto.

It’s a blue-collar outfit. There is no stadium, just CWC Park – a ground with people ringing the field.

READ MORE: Pro football’s first black quarterback Bernie Custis dies at 88

“It’s back to rugby league raw. And we’re comfortable with that. That’s fine,” said Rowley, a former England hooker. “I’ve said from the outset we’re very humble. This is where the game starts. Clubs like Siddal are fantastic for the game – in fact there’d be no game without these sort of clubs

“We’re looking forward (to playing) and very respectful of Siddal, not only the people who play for the team but the people who run the club and that goes with it.”

In contrast to Siddal, Toronto is a well-heeled startup looking to win promotion all the way to the Super League.

READ MORE: Syrian refugees face off against Calgary Police in soccer tournament

Welsh international Dan Fleming and England’s Gary Wheeler are both unlikely to play for Toronto due to injury.

“It’s a small squad selection but we’re healthy enough to give a couple of headaches,” said Rowley. “So we’re more than happy.”

Toronto has played one pre-season game to date, losing 26-20 to Super League team Hull FC in late January. Rowley believes the team has improved dramatically since and is eager to see it in action against Siddal.

“We’re all excited. Now we want to get stuck in.”

Toronto’s first home game is May 6 against Oxford RLFC.

OTTAWA – Candidates for leadership of the federal Conservative party went four rounds Friday in a debate aimed at providing an opportunity for a deep dive into policy.

But the cut-and-thrust of politics remained on display even as the format of having 14 people on stage at once was dissolved into smaller groups of candidates debating specific policy themes, one group at a time.

The debate at the Manning Conference saw the contenders appear before a crowd of the conservative movement’s most ardent advocates and activists, self-described political junkies eager to shell out the cash to spend a weekend debating ideology and brushing up on political marketing tactics.

WATCH: Reform Party founder Preston Manning reacts to Canada’s populist movement

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So when Deepak Obhrai lashed out at Kevin O’Leary‘s apparent lack of knowledge over how transfer payments are doled out to the provinces – O’Leary threatened to cut them for any province with a carbon tax – raucous cheering ensured.

“Mr. O’Leary, you need to know the Constitution of Canada,” Obhrai said.

And equally raucous boos greeted candidate Michael Chong‘s spirited defence of a carbon tax as the way forward for environment policy, a nearly heretical point of view within party circles.

READ MORE: Extremism, elites and ‘Trumpomania’ highlights at Manning Centre Conference

Maxime Bernier‘s position on ending supply management – another sacred policy position for Tories – drew fire his way too.

Lisa Raitt said she felt Bernier hadn’t thought it through and the impact it would actually have on consumers and farmers.

“You don’t know the math associated with your own economic plan,” Raitt said.

WATCH: Raitt discusses how she’d work with Trump during Conservative debate

Unlike the official debates organized by the party, or the informal ones that have been organized by MPs and riding associations, the Manning conference presented candidates the chance to woo the party’s thinkers and influencers from across the country in the hopes they’ll fan out to spread their message.

Proving their conservative credentials was key and O’Leary – who many have grumbled isn’t a true conservative – made sure to invoke the name of a conservative many hold dear, Sir John A. Macdonald. He likened the railways built by Canada’s first prime minister to the pipelines of today.

But O’Leary took punches for how much time he’s spent outside the country; members of Raitt’s team paraded a person in an Uncle Sam outfit with a massive O’Leary cardboard face around the lobby ahead of the debate.

READ MORE: Kevin O’Leary says his high profile in US makes him perfect candidate to lead Canada

Some conference delegates remarked afterwards how while the other contenders were chatting amongst themselves before and during the debate, none interacted with O’Leary himself.

Conservatives at the conference aren’t the ones he wants backing him anyway, suggested delegate Jacob Rabinowitz.

“He needs to bring people in to the party to win, he’s not going to pick up or steal anyone’s support here,” Rabinowitz said.

Delegate Alexandra Rosenfeld agreed. While she said she was most impressed by Bernier’s economic policies, O’Leary will remain a force in the race no matter what.

“He’s going to be a contender because he is so famous,” she said.

WATCH: ‘I’m not Canada’s Trump’: Kevin O’Leary when asked about immigration

O’Leary has long said he’s aware people are scouring thousands of hours of footage from his time on reality televO’Leary has long said he’s aware people are scouring thousands of hours of footage from his time on reality television looking for clips that could be used against himision looking for clips that could be used against him, and one surfaced Friday – a 2013 episode of the show Dragons Den where a company was making a pitch for investment in their jeans.

O’Leary grabbed the buttocks of one of the models and was asked by reporters on Friday whether that was an appropriate move and whether the women had given permission.

“I honestly don’t remember but I’m sure she wasn’t offended,” O’Leary replied.

A news story from the time the episode aired said the judges had asked the company if touching the models would be OK.

READ MORE: Kevin O’Leary asked permission to touch woman’s buttocks on Dragon’s Den: entrepreneur

O’Leary wasn’t the only focus for criticism.

In a group made up of Erin O’Toole, Chris Alexander, Andrew Saxton and Kellie Leitch, Leitch became the target.

While her policies on screening would-be immigrants for “Canadian values” have been a central and controversial part of the leadership contest, her rivals pounced during a debate on health policy.

O’Toole pressed her on why she hadn’t put out a plan, Leitch replied that she’s done a ton of research on the issue and that her experience at business school and as a physician make her uniquely qualified to put forward ideas.

READ MORE: Banner with Quebec mosque shooting victim names, call to resign hung at Kellie Leitch’s office

Alexander scoffed.

“I think the problems are not too difficult for mere mortals to understand,” he said, to cheers.

The candidates will debate again next week at a party-organized event in Edmonton.

Party members vote for the next leader in May.